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February 24, 2010
Shopping for Syrian merchandise in Damascene bazaars

Cari Machet is a multimedia producer who has traveled extensively in the Middle East. She writes here about what she found for sale on a recent trip to Syria.

The branding of U.S. corporations has nothing on some political factions in the Middle East when it comes to advertising and marketing. How can you compare anything to Nasrallah’s head on a plush pillow or the Hezbollah perfume called “Perfume of the Martyrs?”

How about that little throw pillow, doorbell that chimes a Hezbollah speech or leather wallet with Bashars’ head on it?

Saida Zeinab in Damascus, Syria has the areas greatest Shi’a shrine. There is a ton of shopping in a labyrinthine souk, a big hotel, and a surrounding Iraqi area where you can get Iraqi goods fresh from Iraq, sweets, great fresh Iraqi bread made in front of you. The architecture is amazing, and it’s no surprise to find small shops of political souvenirs tucked among the ancient buildings.

In another area of Damascus named Yarmouk there are no pilgrims only refugees and generations of refugees. This is a Palestinian area and the souvenirs from this area are fully behind Hamas and Palestine. The area is considered a slum and the UNHRW provides many of the services.

This neighborhood is also home to what are known as ‘China stores’, where you can buy knockoffs of American products made in China on the cheap

– Cari Machet

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1 comment


god I miss cigarette vending machines

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